Monday, October 22, 2007
Edmary Mpagi served 18 years on death row in Uganda for the murder of a man who in fact was alive. In July 2000, Mr. Mpagi was finally free after enough evidence was found to prove his innocence.
“It was 18 years and three months that I spent in there,” Mr. Mpagi said. “There wasn't one day I didn't think I was going to die. Others should not go through what I went through - the guilty ones or the other innocent ones like me.”
Now that Mr. Mpagi is out of jail, he spends much of his time on a campaign against government-sponsored killing.
Even though opponents of capital punishment, like Mr. Mpagi, face obstacles such as religion, politicians, and citizens who are fed up with criminals. Their effort in trying to eradicate the death penalty in Africa is making headway. For example, eighteen years ago only one country in Africa, the island of Cape Verde, did not practice capital punishment. Today, according to Amnesty International, 13 African countries have now abolished the death penalty for all crimes. However, 20 countries retain the death penalty but are no longer carrying out executions and 20 countries retain and use the death penalty.
Those who are advocates of death penalty in Africa say, what about “those who dare to take the life of another, violate a woman or commit a crime while wielding a gun ought to pay with their lives.” Mr. Mpagi’s asks, “What about false prosecutions. What about cruel and unusual punishment? What about evidence that suggests that having a death penalty does not deter people from killing, raping or robbing?”
What do you think about the death penalty? Will the death penalty ever be eliminated in America?